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Cyber attacks could disrupt food supply – FBI

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The FBI has warned that hackers could target large scale farms, which in turn would impact the world’s food supply. This warning comes as the FBI’s Cyber Division issued a notice to private industry this week, highlighting a number of ransomware attacks on farming co-ops through late 2021 and early 2022.

Stating that “ransomware actors may be more likely to attack agricultural cooperatives during critical planting and harvest seasons, disrupting operations, causing financial loss, and negatively impacting the food supply chain.”Such beaches could have an affect on the planting season, potentially disrupting the supply of both seeds and fertiliser.

Last year six major grain co-ops were targeted by a variety of ransomeware attacks over a month long period, as well as a multi state grain company experiencing a similar phenomenon in March. Given the importance for grain supply for both humans and livestock, continued attacks like these could have an effect on the global food supply chain.

“A significant disruption of grain production could impact the entire food chain, since grain is not only consumed by humans but also used for animal feed, in addition, a significant disruption of grain and corn production could impact commodities trading and stocks,” stated the FBI.

Ransomware is a malicious form of software using encryption keys, blocking access to a victim’s data until a ‘ransom’ is paid to the attackers. It could be compared to to holding the victims files or documents as hostage, with the threat of either public leak or destruction if the ransom isn’t paid.

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